Linda Månsson: Synthesizing temperature-responsive colloidal molecules
Place: Kemicentrum, Lecture hall F
A seminar by PhD Student Linda Månsson, Physical Chemistry, Lund University.
Fuelled by quests from the material science area, by combining the concepts of anisotropy and valency from the atomistic world with the large size, slower dynamics and easily accessible characterization techniques of colloids, so-called colloidal molecules have over the past decade emerged as a new class of building blocks with predicted exotic phase behaviour.
In my talk I will discuss three different approaches to fabricate colloidal molecules with a well-defined number of binding sites and externally tuneable interactions, where we assemble small clusters of colloidal microgel particles based on the temperature-responsive polymers N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAM) or N-isopropylmethacrylamide (PNIPMAM). The use of pNIPAM and pNIPMAM microgels allows for easy manipulation of the interactions between the resulting colloidal molecules via temperature, as the interaction potential between individual microgels changes from soft repulsive below the volume phase transition temperature (VPTT) of the microgels to attractive for T > VPTT. I will address advantages and disadvantages of the three approaches to fabricate colloidal molecules, and demonstrate that microgel-based colloidal molecules represent an interesting class of colloidal building blocks with the potential to reversibly form complex structures and materials through temperature-tuneable directional interactions.